Stevie Wonder’s Original Musiqarium I includes 11 Top 40 singles and a handful of “album cuts” (we use that term lightly; realize who we’re talking about here, Stevie’s pedigree is on another level) from 1972 to 1980, plus a few new songs which are exclusive to this 1982 collection. It’s crazy to think that “Isn’t She Lovely” wasn’t a big hit around the release of Songs In The Key Of Life, but the song had another boost off the back of Original Musiquarium and is now easily one of Stevie’s most iconic tunes (one can only wonder if “Golden Lady” would have gotten the recognition it deserved if it were included here). The mixes of “Living For The City” and “Boogie On Reggae Woman” are a little different from the original album versions, and “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” is the rare 7” single mix with a horn arrangement that takes the track up a notch. Also nice to re-experience sleeper hits like “Send One Your Love” and “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” in the context of total smashes like “Superstition” and “Living For The City.” But the real weight of this collection is in the four new songs, each one tacked on to the end of the four sides; sweet disco singalong “Do I Do” (sampled by Ja Rule on “Livin It Up”) and top-5 Stevie tune “Ribbon In The Sky” make this record worth every penny. Faithfully reissued on double vinyl in the original gatefold sleeve, with liner notes and original artwork on the inside, plus embossed fish and bubbles on the front. It’s almost impossible to find an original copy these days that hasn’t been totally thrashed by baby boomers over the years, so this new pressing looks and feel as great as it sounds on our turntable. Recommended.
- double vinyl pressing
- gatefold sleeve w/ embossed cover
- music label: Motown 1982 / 2017
reviewed by peanut dust 08/2017